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Why strong glutes matter

Does the thought of training your glutes make you blush?!?

Do you think that just because your last name isn’t Kardashian you have no reason to train your glutes? Well, I’m here to tell you why having strong glutes (consisting of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) matters. Here are my top reasons why both women and men should have a strong set of glutes.

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Aesthetics.

Strong glutes create shapelier glutes. Losing weight just isn’t enough to shape a booty. In fact, many people will realize that, after reaching their desired weight, their booty still lacks shape. You need to train your glutes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Won’t training my glutes just cause my glutes to grow, and if I’m focused on weight loss, isn’t this the exact opposite of what I want?” Not quite.

It turns out, there’s a big difference in both aesthetics and function between muscle mass and fat mass in the butt region. You may find your glutes becoming rounder, perkier, and shapelier as a result of strength training, but not wider. Don’t let me convince you, though… Just wait until the compliments start rolling in.

Performance.

From NFL players to Olympic sprinters, you just won’t find powerful athletes without a strong set of glutes. This point is particularly relevant for men, who often feel that glute training is reserved for Instagram models. Instead of realizing that glutes play an essential role in the entire glossary of human movement, from jumping to throwing to twisting to running to striking, they’ll train just about every muscle in their body but their glutes. Even if you could care less about the perkiness of your rear, your glutes are too important to be neglected.

 

Weak glutes lead to pain and injury.

Your glutes turn off if you don’t use them. Passive activities like walking, running, chores, and other daily activities might be enough to recruit certain muscles, but not your glutes. Your glutes need powerful, explosive movement in order to activate. Couple all these passive activities with all the sitting we do on a daily basis, and it’s easy to see that your glutes are simply not firing. They’re dormant!

Stronger glutes lead to better movement quality, and better movement quality leads to less injury caused by movement dysfunction. Here are just some symptoms of weak glutes:

  • Slouching posture
  • Low back pain
  • Hamstring and groin strains
  • Knee pain
  • Pain in the hips

 

Sorry, but simply “working out” isn’t always enough to target your glutes, either.

The top experts in the field study muscle activation using electromyography (EMG). What they found is that many common exercises that we think are targeting our glutes aren’t actually making much of a dent on the EMG chart. For example, a bodyweight squat ranks quite low on the scale- activating only about ten percent of glute contraction. There is a broad range of exercises which activate the different gluteal muscles to varying degrees. From hip thrusts to glute bridges to split squats to reverse lunges to deadlifts, exercise selection plays a big role in how much glute activation you’re getting.

This is evident in my own experience with barbell hip thrusts. As a petite female, I started incorporating barbell hip thrusts into my training about a year ago, starting with about 95 pounds and working my way up. I have found many of my male counterparts, who are well-muscled and fit in their own right, unable to barbell hip thrust with the weights I am capable of using, which are north of 350 pounds for multiple reps and sets. The reason is simple. It’s not that I’m stronger than them. It’s just that I’ve trained my glutes to activate in that range of motion, and they haven’t. It’s also clear that you can spend hours and hours in the gym sculpting a muscular body, but your glutes could still be inadequately firing.

 

In conclusion… quit blushing! Start training those glutes.

 

This post is inspired by the book Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide To Building A Better Butt And Body, by Bret Contreras.

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